Ann Bigler sat on West Cass Street Saturday morning, anxiously awaiting the start of the 2016 Danish Festival Grand Dansk Parade with her children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren. It has long been a tradition in their family to visit the festival, browse around downtown and at Veterans Park and, of course, watch the parade.
Fear of a possible tornado drove throngs of people off the streets during the Danish Festival Saturday afternoon.
A severe weather system worked its way north through Montcalm County, after first striking Ionia, Kent, Ottawa, Allegan and Van Buren counties where as many as 5 tornadoes touched down, resulting in extensive damage.
An event this week in Greenville may have been a simulation, but homelessness is a very real problem. “I heard last week that Kent County has a 1 percent housing availability — the tightest market in the nation. I bet we’re tighter in Montcalm County,” said Have Mercy Director Kim Cain at Wednesday’s Project Connect and homeless simulation at Greenville Community Church. “And it’s not just us. All of West Michigan is struggling like this.”
A festival more than a half century in the making continues to go strong. The 52nd annual Danish Festival got underway per tradition with the raising of the flags — Michigan, United States and Danish — at Heritage Park next to Greenville City Hall.
With their red shirts, they blend into the Danish Festival crowd almost unnoticed. Without them, Greenville’s annual event couldn’t happen.
As many as 50 people — of all ages and range of experience — volunteer to help with the many events during Danish Festival, which begins Thursday and runs through Sunday. From the Princess for a Day event to the Grand Dansk Parade to the Tivoli Beer Gardens to the Exploring Danish Happiness traveling exhibit, all the festival events that happen throughout the city is only possible through the dedication of a volunteer program.
Several apartments were destroyed in a structure fire early Wednesday morning at the Pine Manor apartment complex, but all residents were able to escape safely.
According to Greenville Public Safety Sgt. and Fire Lt. Darren Jones, firefighters were dispatched at 3:38 a.m. to 1201 S. Cedar St. in Greenville, where a fire had started on the exterior of the apartment complex, behind apartments numbered 19 through 22.
Allison Harrison learned how to make the best of both worlds. In 2014, as a Belding High School student, she participated in and won the Miss Belding Scholarship Pageant. As a resident of Greenville, she was also able compete in this year’s Miss Danish Festival Scholarship Pageant.
After 20 years as a local educational institution, Grattan Academy Charter School is about to undergo two of the largest changes in its history.
During Monday evening’s Board of Directors meeting, board members voted unanimously to drop “Grattan” from the name entirely and to rename the school “Belding-Greenville Preparatory Charter Academy” as part of a new branding effort to change the image of the school.
Montcalm County saw its highest voter turnout in a nonpresidential primary election in more than a decade Tuesday. A total of 23 percent of Montcalm County’s registered voters — 9,844 people — participated at the polls. Past primary elections saw 15 percent in 2014, 17 percent in 2012, 21 percent in 2010, 17 percent in 2008 and 11 percent in 2006.
The three candidates in the hottest race in Montcalm County were given one last chance to earn votes. Charlie Mahar, Charles Noll and Michael Williams had their final face off during a candidate forum Monday evening at Montcalm Community College’s Ash Technology Learning Center in Gr